Salman Rushdie lost partial vision, use of hand after attack, rep says by Julian Mark

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Salman Rushdie lost partial vision, use of hand after attack, rep says

After an attacker rushed the stage at an August event in Chautauqua, N.Y., and stabbed novelist Salman Rushdie, Rushdie’s agent said at the time that the 75-year-old author’s road to recovery would be long.

Now, the extent of Rushdie’s injuries have come into sharper focus, with his agent, Andrew Wylie, telling the Spanish newspaper El País on Saturday that one of Rushdie’s hands is incapacitated and that the author has lost vision in one eye. Wylie added that Rushdie sustained “three serious wounds in his neck” and had 15 more wounds to his chest and torso.


“So, it was a brutal attack,” Wylie said in the interview, adding that the injuries were “profound.”

Wylie declined to say whether Rushdie remains in the hospital, explaining that he could not give any information about the author’s whereabouts.

“He’s going to live,” Wylie told the paper, adding, “That’s the more important thing.”

Wylie’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post on Sunday.

Who is Salman Rushdie?

Around 11 a.m. on Aug. 12, Rushdie had just taken his seat onstage for an interview at the Chautauqua Institution when a man ran onto the stage and attacked Rushdie and his interviewer, Henry Reese, who suffered a facial injury that required a short hospitalization. Rushdie, who police said had been stabbed in the neck and abdomen, was airlifted to a hospital and put on a ventilator.

In the following days, after Rushdie had been taken off the ventilator, Wylie told The Post that Rushdie’s injuries were severe. He told the Associated Press that Rushdie suffered damage to his liver and to nerves in one arm, adding that the author might lose an eye.

Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old New Jersey man, was arrested in the attack and charged with attempted murder and assault. He has pleaded not guilty.

After the 1988 publication of Rushdie’s fourth novel, “The Satanic Verses,” Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini denounced the novel’s treatment of Islam as blasphemous and issued a fatwa, or religious decree, calling for Rushdie’s assassination. A $1 million bounty was put on his head — an amount that would grow to more than $3 million over the years.

Rushdie went into hiding for years. Bookstores that sold the novel were attacked. Two translators of the book — one Italian and one Japanese — were the victims of separate stabbings in 1991. The Japanese translator, Hitoshi Igarashi, died. Even after Khomeini died and Iran’s leaders later distanced themselves from the fatwa, it remained a threat to Rushdie. He told The Post in 1992 that he wasn’t sure he’d ever be safe, though in recent years Rushdie made public appearances without visible guards.

In 1992, Salman Rushdie wasn’t sure he’d ever be safe

Iran denied involvement in the August attack. In an interview with the New York Post, Matar would not say whether he was inspired by the fatwa, but he praised Khomeini and told the paper that he was surprised Rushdie survived.

In the interview published Saturday, Wylie told El País that, in the past, he and Rushdie had spoken about how the fatwa continued to pose a danger, especially from “a random person coming out of nowhere and attacking” him.

“So, you can’t protect against that,” Wylie told the paper, “because it’s totally unexpected and illogical.”

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Disclaimer: Salman Rushdie lost partial vision, use of hand after attack, rep says by Julian Mark - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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